The women-empowering effect of higher education

Ahmed Elsayed, Alina Shirshikova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We examine the effects of the large-scale construction of public universities in Egypt during the 1960s and 1970s. We found that opening a local university increased the likelihood of obtaining higher education degrees and had long-lasting positive effects on labor market and marriage outcomes, particularly for women. We give insights on internal migration as a channel and show that migration prior to university enrollment age decreased while migration after that age increased as an outcome of university construction. Local universities reduced men’s migration for study and women’s migration for early marriage. The paper highlights the importance of increasing access to higher education for positive social and labor outcomes, particularly for women.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103101
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

JEL classifications

  • i21 - Analysis of Education
  • i23 - Higher Education and Research Institutions
  • j24 - "Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity"
  • j22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"
  • o55 - Economywide Country Studies: Africa


  • Higher education
  • Universities
  • Empowerment of women
  • Returns to education

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